Canadian author to speak to West Kootenay

The plight of refugees in Canada and around the world, and what can be done.

  • Apr. 13, 2016 5:00 a.m.

One of Canada’s most acclaimed authors says the country could be doing a lot more than it has to help the plight of refugees here and around the world.

Lawrence Hill will be bringing that message to a pair of lectures sponsored by Selkirk College later this month.

“I am pleased that we are welcoming Syrian refugees, but we could do more,” says the author of The Illegal, a 2015 novel that explores the plight of displaced and stateless persons. “We could process Syrian and other refugees more quickly, so people don’t languish and die while waiting to come to Canada. We could also fast-track refugees from other countries… and we should do all in our ability to integrate refugees well into our society and economy.”

Hill says the current crisis is one of the most pressing humanitarian issues in our world today, and “will likely remain so for years.”

Hill’s star continues to rise in Canada’s literary firmament. The Illegal won the CBC’s Canada Reads competition last month, and he shared a Canadian Screen Award for co-writing the TV miniseries adaptation of his previous work, The Book of Negroes. He holds honorary doctorates from five Canadian universities and in 2015 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.

Hill’s first lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in Grand Forks at the USCC Community Centre. The event in Grand Forks has been sponsored by Community Futures Boundary and RDKB Area D, in partnership with Selkirk College. Hill will also speak in Nelson on Friday, April 22 at 7 p.m. at Mary Hall on the Selkirk College Tenth Street Campus.

Besides two speaking engagements, Hill will be holding a closed, two-day workshop for established writers on the art and business side of being a creative writer.

“To have Lawrence Hill here is an incredible opportunity for master-level writers in the area,” says Cara-Lee Malange, Selkirk College’s continuing education coordinator. “The art side of being a writer is obviously paramount, but you have to be a good promoter too, you need to know the business side of things. Someone like Lawrence Hill can certainly help navigate people in that area.”

It’s Hill’s third visit in five years to the West Kootenay-Boundary, where he says he finds “generous people and an amazing landscape.”

“It’s a way of reconnecting with my past,” he says of his return visit. “I studied at UBC in Vancouver in the 1970s and came to Nelson to visit at the time. I’m looking forward to returning to Nelson and Selkirk College with my wife [writer Miranda Hill].”

Tickets for the Grand Forks event are available at Selkirk College’s Grand Forks Campus (recommended) or at the door. Tickets for the Nelson event can be purchased at Selkirk College Bookstore on the Castlegar Campus or by calling 250-365-1281. They can also be purchased at Otter Books in Nelson (cash or cheque only) or at the door.

For more information visit, or contact Cara-Lee Malange at 250-365-1261 or (Nelson event). For specific information about the Grand Forks lecture, please contact Jennifer Wetmore at 250-442-2704 or


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